Saturday, March 21, 2009

THE OBAMA WATCH... trenchant observations from Krugman

I can't help but agree with what Paul Krugman says here . His Blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, is worth following. I usually access it through the Huff Post, which I've been checking in on pretty well daily. I paste his post here because it will quickly get lost among the updates.

March 20, 2009, 9:05 am

AIG

Preliminary thoughts on the tax bill:

1. It’s not the way you should make policy — it’s clumsy, and it will punish some innocent parties while letting the most guilty off scot-free

2. But — there wasn’t much alternative at this point. And for that I blame the Obama people.

I’ll leave to others the question of who knew or should have known that the bonus firestorm was coming; but it’s part of a pattern. At every stage, Geithner et al have made it clear that they still have faith in the people who created the financial crisis — that they believe that all we have is a liquidity crisis that can be undone with a bit of financial engineering, that “governments do a bad job of running banks” (as opposed, presumably, to the wonderful job the private bankers have done), that financial bailouts and guarantees should come with no strings attached.

This was bad analysis, bad policy, and terrible politics. This administration, elected on the promise of change, has already managed, in an astonishingly short time, to create the impression that it’s owned by the wheeler-dealers. And that leaves it with no ability to counter crude populism.

2 comments:

greg rappleye said...

I'm afraid that you and Krugman are right on this one.

But––even though we haven't much margin for error left––to have a President who can say, "I screwed up," instead of the blameless Texas Decider––it's a relief, don't you think?

Brian Campbell said...

Obama is a huge relief in so many ways. His election was a major sea change in the spiritus mundi. But still, it's too bad he didn't put people like Krugman in change of the economic portfolio. His presidency may prove to be overwhelmed by the legacy of the Bush/Clinton/Reagan years (esp. of course Bush Jr.)